Beyond just the scale of its user base, there are three main reasons businesses should seriously consider developing a presence on WhatsApp.
First, WhatsApp is a useful customer service channel. It enables community managers to engage with customers quickly and easily on a platform they’re comfortable with. It’s also free for brands if they have a response time under 24 hours.
Second, WhatsApp is underrated as a digital communications channel. WhatsApp Status alone has over 450 million daily active users. Messaging groups of customers can reach up to 256 people at a time, while 1:1 comms can build relationships with users that strengthen brand loyalty.
Third, WhatsApp marketing is more powerful than many brands believe. From sending paid notifications to directly messaging leads, there are plenty of strategies and features marketers can use to boost revenue and increase conversions.
If you’re using WhatsApp for business reasons, it doesn’t make sense to do so through a private account. You risk losing access to the account and you miss out on tons of useful features.
For small businesses, WhatsApp has a solution: WhatsApp Business. This app is available for Android and iOS, but it’s also accessible as an online platform called WhatsApp Web that you can use in-browser if you already have a business account set up for your company.
WhatsApp Business is specifically designed for smaller companies that want to organize their presence on WhatsApp. It’s free to use, but a little more limited in its capabilities than the WhatsApp Business API.
- Business Profile: You can create a publicly-visible profile with information about your business, including email address, location, description, URL, hours, logo and more.
- WhatsApp Business Statistics: You can see basic analytics reports about your account activity such as the number of messages sent, delivered, read and received.
- Labels: You can add custom color-coded labels to active chats with customers to keep them organized.
- Greetings: You’re able to set up a default greeting message for customers that start chats with your business.
- Away messages: You can pre-set messages to send to customers when you’re not online.
- Quick replies: You can save frequently-used responses to send quickly by typing short commands starting with “/”. For example, if you save a quick reply telling customers your address, you could type “/address” to automatically send a pre-written message like “Thanks for asking! Our address is 123 Main Street.”
The WhatsApp Business app definitely makes things easier for small brands. It makes business information more readily available to customers and helps with sorting active chats. Plus, it has some auto-reply capabilities and enough response templates to handle a smaller customer base.
However, medium and enterprise-sized companies will probably need a more powerful tool if they’re dealing with large numbers of users or want to add more functionality. That’s where the WhatsApp Business API comes in.
The WhatsApp Business API lets brands tap into WhatsApp’s code themselves to get deeper insights and add their own features and integrations.
Unfortunately, only about 90 companies currently have access to the WhatsApp Business API, and public use is still limited. You can sign up with this form if you want your company to be considered for access.
Alternatively, you can use a third-party tool for WhatsApp that already has access to the WhatsApp Business API and is a certified WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP). Third-party tools like Falcon.io allow businesses to filter, label, and manage WhatsApp messages alongside messages from other social networks within a single social inbox, for example.
So, if you don’t want to use your personal WhatsApp account for business (and we strongly recommend that your don’t) you have three options:
Use the WhatsApp Business app (for small businesses) Get access to the WhatsApp Business API (for enterprise) Buy a third-party tool from a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (for all businesses that want to strengthen their WhatsApp presence)
Yes and no.
WhatsApp Business’s API will cost you nothing if all you do is reply to people 24 hours after they text you.
If you want to contact people after 24 hours, then you’ll have to pay between 5 to 90 cents per message.